With Brady, Bowdoin women are soaring
Shannon Brady lost just one game her senior season at Scituate High, a heartbreaking 71-64 overtime defeat to Reading in the Division 2 state semifinals at TD Garden.
But from that loss, though, Bowdoin College women’s basketball coach Adrienne Shibles knew she had a winner in the 6-foot Brady, who sent the game into OT with a right-handed hook shot that beat the buzzer. It was the signature moment of a closing 28-point, 17-rebound performance.
“We had high expectations for Shannon,” said Shibles. “She had such a great game at the Garden, and came from a strong high school program. We knew she would have a huge impact on our program.”
The NESCAC Rookie of the Year a year ago as a freshman, Brady has powered the Polar Bears (5-0) to their best start since 2009, when Bowdoin advanced to the Division 3 Sweet Sixteen.
Brady posted a career-high 25 points on 12 of 15 shooting and collected 13 rebounds in a 67-56 win over Endicott on Nov. 19, and added 16 points and six boards in a 76-40 win over Bates, earning Player of the Week honors in the conference.
Through five games, the sophomore leads the Polar Bears in scoring (16 points per game), rebounds (8.2), and blocks per game (1.8).
Brady credits her strong start to lots of summer reading, mostly the 300-page conditioning program designed by Neil Willey, the strength and conditioning coach at Bowdoin.
“It was pretty intense,” Brady said. “We were lifting three days a week and conditioning two days. I’ve always been a pretty big runner, and I ran a lot this summer. It was all basketball-specific stuff, and it helped our team get into great shape.”
That conditioning has paid off. In addition to working the paint with her hook shot and other post moves, Brady has been able to pile up points as a finisher in transition.
“I didn’t think it was possible, but Shannon is in even better shape than last year,” said Shibles. “She’s stronger and she’s running the court exceptionally well. Shannon is a gazelle. She could run for an entire 40 minutes.
“She’s beating every one down court, and our guards are finding her in transition. Shannon is more confident with her back to the basket and is doing a lot of great things for us.”
The third-leading scorer in the conference, she is shooting 61.4 percent from the floor. She has also registered nine blocked shots.
“As a freshman, I wasn’t looking to be a superstar or anything like that,” said Brady, who averaged 7.2 points per game as a freshman and led the Polar Bears in rebounding.
“I just wanted to make a really good impact on the team. I started to grow into my role at the end of the season. Coming back this year, I knew that I wanted to be a major contributor and a real leader.”
Last year, Bowdoin advanced to the NESCAC semifinals before losing to Amherst. The goal this season, according to Brady, is an undefeated season and the NESCAC tournament championship.
Rachel Norton, a freshman from Braintree, is starting to see more time on the court at the 2-guard for the Polar Bears. She had two points and two assists in seven minutes of action during Bowdoin’s win over New England. Norton was a three-sport captain at Braintree (basketball, volleyball, and lacrosse) and was a two-time defensive MVP for the Wamps.
“She is a great competitor and superb defender and she sees the court really well, so we’re excited to have her,” said Shibles. “Right now she is battling through some injuries but is still giving us quality minutes. Her role with us will grow for sure.”
Here and there
Hingham’s Katie Riley , a senior cocaptain for the Division 3 national champion Bowdoin field hockey team, has been named a second-team All-American by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. Her 59 points (21 goals, 17 assists) were tops in the NESCAC this season. She ends her Bowdoin career with 46 goals (fifth all-time) and 35 assists (fourth all-time) for 127 points. . . .
Junior linebacker Chris Tamasi (Xaverian Brothers/Canton) enjoyed a breakout season for the Amherst College football team. The 5-foot-11, 225-pound Tamasi was a first-team NESCAC pick after leading the Lord Jeffs in tackles (62) and leading the conference with 18 tackles for losses. He also contributed four sacks. . . .
Plymouth North senior Brian Christian will continue his baseball career at Northeastern. The 6-2, 185-pound right-hander was 9-1 with a 1.26 earned run average last spring at North, with 86 strikeouts in 58 innings. “Brian is an athletic righthand pitcher with a live arm,” said Northeastern assistant coach Mike Glavine. “He has demonstrated much success already in his high school career and projects as a power pitcher for us.” . . .
The fifth annual Garrett Reagan Hockey Summit will be held Sunday at New England Sports Center in Marlborough. Sponsored by the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association and the Bauer equipment company, the daylong event will feature 56 boys’ and girls’ varsity teams, each scheduled to play an abbreviated game (two 15-minute periods) and participate in workshops. The event is named in honor of the late Hingham High hockey coach.
John R. Johnson can be reached at email@example.com.